Rutte: ‘We will not be able to sustain lockdown for another four months, but a tipping point is approaching
For the retail trade there will be a ‘correction’, as the prime minister calls it. Instead of two customers per floor, the number of square meters will become the norm. One customer may be received per 25 square meters. “With a maximum of fifty people in the entire store,” said Rutte. The prime minister wants to announce new steps around Easter, including for the catering industry. On March 23, there will be a new travel advice for the May holiday. “Hopefully also for the summer holidays,” said Rutte.
Terraces may open again around Easter, provided the corona figures allow it, said outgoing minister De Jonge. In that case, however, there will be a maximum number of guests at the table and on the terrace. Before that happens, the pressure on hospitals must first decrease and the virus must spread less quickly.
Prime Minister Rutte mainly asks for patience. “The tipping point is approaching where the vaccine gets the upper hand over the virus.” Rutte says he wants to take ‘conscious risks’, although that does not mean that new major easing is being announced now. “We will not keep the lockdown this way for another four months.” Still, he warns that really big steps cannot be taken yet. It is not possible to announce new easing until March 16, said Rutte. “Just some corrections.”
Only small steps will be taken until the summer, according to the outgoing prime minister’s words. “If everyone has been vaccinated once in the summer, that is the moment when we can take big steps towards a normal world again. You could say that is in four months. But it’s also just four months from now. ”
Rutte said he could not predict when the curfew will disappear. “We still want to get rid of that, but it is not wise now.” He denies that other relaxations are now taking precedence. “These are corrections.” The Prime Minister admits that he still does not know the exact effect, because it is measured together with the rule not to receive more than one visitor. “But together they give a decrease of about 10 percent,” repeated the prime minister.
Measures are still badly needed, said Corona Minister De Jonge. “In the coming period we will have to talk about measures to keep the virus under control. Let’s not do stupid things in sight of the port. ” The peak of the third wave is yet to come, he warned. If the worst scenarios materialize, hospitals will be as full in a month as last year, De Jonge said.
Support for entrepreneurs is widely discussed in The Hague. In the coming days, the cabinet will again review whether the economic support packages are still sufficient to help entrepreneurs not to drown.
The caretaker cabinet also wants to offer perspective for the May and summer holidays during the next press moment. It is likely that many areas will go back to ‘yellow’ in mid-April. At the moment, the travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs still lists the entire world in orange, which means that only necessary journeys are an exception to the rule. According to Rutte, everyone yearns to get away from it all. “Let’s hope that something more can be done on this point.”
The number of infections is still too high to relax further. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives will again debate the corona measures with the relevant ministers. It is the last corona debate before the elections.